There are many ways to remember loved ones. And even more ways to miss them when they are gone.
A light scent of a familiar perfume, so subtle you may have only imagined it. The brush of a nubby tweed jacket across a bare arm. Sadly sweet notes of a nearly forgotten love song. A booming laugh. A whispered shhh that tickles in your ear.
But sometimes the heart longs for something more tangible. An artifact, if you will. Not only a symbol, but an object that you can hold and touch. Something that your loved one held and touched too.
When we lost Dad 21 years ago, my sister-in-law created the perfect artifact. She took the jacket and vest from his best suit and decorated them with feminine touches. The next Christmas she gave one to Mom and the other to me. What could be more perfect than a wearable artifact? Both now hang in my closet since I have also lost Mom. Because she frequently wore the vest, it has increased value for me.
Mom was a saver. She left behind treasured family heirlooms, old jewelry, seven scrapbooks, baby books for each child, a diary from her courtship and early marriage, hand-stitched quilts, Christmas decorations, and much more.
Try as she might, Mom never was able to keep all of her photos organized. She packed a whole lot of living into her 96 years—and most of it was documented with snapshots. They stuff large envelopes and spill by the handsful from boxes.
And, of course, Mom left me her cat Shadow, a living, breathing, purring artifact. The photo above would have been stronger if it had been Shadow looking at the photos. But she is sleeping in the sun this afternoon, so Angie checked out the pictures.
Mom was not really a fan of cooking, but she did her share as a farm wife and mother. She and Dad each had a recipe box. Mom’s was this old wooden one with the cover dangling from a broken hinge.
I love these old recipes, largely because they are hand written, providing another connection with the person. The recipes are not just Mom’s but also from my dad, his aunt, my grandmother, and family friends. I was pleased that I could recognize the handwriting of quite a few people without having to see their names.
Looking through the recipes has inspired me to take on another memory project. I want to make some of the dishes on these tattered old cards. What fun to reminisce while cooking and eating some of my long-forgotten favorite foods.